The new business secretary Sajid Javid has refused to comment on the UK’s membership in the European Union until the government has renegotiated its stance.
Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Javid, who was formally culture secretary, said: “No one can answer this question before we know the outcome of the renegotiation process. Once the process is over everyone, and especially the British people, can make their decision.”
He added that businesses across the UK wanted an end to uncertainty over EU membership: “There’s an awful lot of businesses that say ‘can you end this uncertainty’ and that’s why the referendum is absolutely necessary.”
Holding a referendum on EU membership within two years was one of David Cameron’s pledges in the run up to the election. Javid disputed reports it may be fast tracked.
“In terms of timing, we will hold it before the end of 2017,” he told the BBC. “There are many priorities we have to look at.”